While Captain Planet and The Planeteers' main focus is on teaching its target audience about the dangers of pollution, it has episodes that dealt with other situations. This is one of them.
The Planeteers go undercover in an unnamed high school when a teacher is shot saving a kid from a shootout by two rival gangs: the Evil Educators and the Wrecking Crew. The reason for this is because the teacher, David King, is actually a friend of Gi's, and the news of this hits her hard, as she does not like Wheeler joking when her friend is fighting for his life. Yeah, almost immediately, this episode basically tells the audience that what they are going to learn isn't going to be sugarcoated for younger viewers.
The Planeteers never use their powers in this episode in order to keep from blowing their cover, only using them to summon Captain Planet. What they do is split into two groups, with each group infiltrating one of the two gangs to find out who shot Mr. King.
Like I said, this episode does not sugarcoat the topic. After David's lecture to the class about civil rights, it immediately cuts to the gang shooting at each other, with real world firearms. What hammers the lesson home even more is that some scenes even have the faces of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and even John F. Kennedy in them, and even shows how the gangs get their guns (from a man who sells them illegally), and there's even a scene where Ronnie and Ma-Ti face being killed a run-down house set aflame by the culprit who shot Mr. King (I won't reveal who it is).
This is actually a good episode, despite the controversial content. Made back in 1994, when cartoons were not afraid to tackle touchy subjects like gun violence and illegal drug dangers, this episode hits home real hard, and with a good message. Also, if you watch closely, you can see a cameo by Shaggy and Velma. This may not be for kids by today's standards, but it's worth a watch.
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